The Search Committee of the Multicultural Center recently began its review of applications for the position of a new Multicultural Center Director. The committee is chaired by Assistant to the President for Affirmative Action and Government Relations Nancy McIntire and is made up of both students and faculty.
Professors Gail Newman and Alex Willingham are faculty members on the committee, and Kendra Field ‘99 and Medha Kirtane ‘00 are the student members. After several months of reviewing the applications and meeting with potential candidates, the committee will decide on a new director this Spring.
The committee began its search through an advertisement in the Jan. 18 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education where they outlined the qualifications for the position.
The committee advertised it is seeking a new Multicultural Director who will “provide leadership to the campus discussion of diversity. . .[and] be effective in strengthening connections with emphasis on increasing points of contact between the Multicultural Center and the academic life of the college.” The committee also advertised it wanted someone who will “improve the advising system. . .[and] begin discussions with faculty concerning pedagogy in a diverse community.”
The Search Committee seeks to fill the position of Director of the MCC that was vacated by Tim Sands. This vital position needed to be filled quickly, and while the college made preparations to find a full time replacement for Sands, Dedrick Muhammad ’95 was appointed interim Director of the MCC.
The role of the new permanent director, as Muhammad says, is not only to improve the programs of previous directors, but also to concentrate on new ways of expanding the role of the MCC on campus.
Muhammad hopes the new director accomplishes this by increasing relations between the MCC and members of the faculty and administration.
“The new director must have teaching experience and be prepared to deal with issues of curriculum. The new director must also be prepared to petition the administration both quietly and perhaps not so quietly,” he said.
President of the College Harry C. Payne described similar qualifications when discussing what the administration is searching for. “The new director must work aggressively to involve the whole college community,” he said.
The MCC is designed to support student groups that celebrate different cultures and is an important resource for minority students. Both Muhammad and Payne regard these goals as extremely important on a campus like Williams, because of Williams relative isolation.
The basic premise behind multiculturalism is to expose students from all cultures to cultures foreign to them. Therefore, Payne and Muhammad both stress that every student should see the MCC as a unique learning resource. The MCC serves as a reminder of the opportunity that diversity provides in a learning-based environment like Williams College.
Student groups which are part of MinCo, the Minority Coalition, all benefit from the presence of the MCC, and they have been taking an active role in the search for a new Director. Field and Kirtane, the students on the committee, are members of MinCo.
Field and Kirtane explained that although the committee may have the final say in choosing the new director, there would still be plenty of opportunities for the whole college community to participate in the process. In the following months, students will be able to meet the candidates when they come to visit the campus.